Friday, March 27, 2020

Keeping Your Wits When Others Are Insane- Day 5

We have had many days of social distancing and self quarantine. We have had many days of graphs and projections. We have had many days of conflicting reports and partisan rancor.....

And I was really saddened by the news from Gov. Ivey yesterday that athletics will be finished for the year. My heart broke for our seniors!

We are in an early phase still in the Psalms of Ascent. The early mood is gone.

Psalm 123
To you I lift up my eyes,
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!  
Behold, as the eyes of servants
look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maidservant
to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
till he has mercy upon us. Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
for we have had more than enough of contempt.   
Our soul has had more than enough
of the scorn of those who are at ease,
of the contempt of the proud.

Ever had burnout? Even quarantines get old quick!

All journeys reach that stretch called the 'lull'.

The beginning of the journey had such strong motivation and direction. Whether it was the draw of beauty or fleeing pain- something made me move.

But each day represents a passing of time and humans tend to forget what we felt like at the beginning.

The older I get, the more the burnout can visit and stay. Perhaps it is a little of a jadedness where I almost see young enthusiasm with a splash of contempt. "So you think you will change the world", you say to that young, excited idealist. "You'll learn." However, I miss that youthful part of me!

One of my mentors got a job in a factory when he was a college student to help with tuition and expenses. He was boxing items that had just come off of an assembly line.

He attacked his new job with a passion and boxed, and boxed, and boxed.

At the first break, he experienced the rebuke of the elder worker.

"Slow down, son, you're making us look bad. Besides that, our union contract stipulates that we only do so many an hour."

Is there a way to keep that youthful fire on our path up the hill?

Yes and no.

It would be idealistic to say that you can make that climb without ever feeling fatigue, discouragement, distraction, boredom, listlessness, or depression, or doubt.

But the hard part is not staying in that negative spin cycle.

Is there a route out?

This Psalm holds keys to the principle involved in getting off neutral and re-engaging the pursuit.

1) Eye on the prize. This is such a simple fundamental but we lose our longing for a journey when we take our eyes off the destination.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
We should fix our eyes on Him and He fixed His eyes on us. It was the prize of winning the redeemed that kept Him going!

But when he (Peter) saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Matthews 14:30
When Peter saw Christ, he fearlessly stepped out on the water. When he took his eyes off Christ, he began to sink.

So this Psalm starts off with our eyes:

To you I lift up my eyes,
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
 Behold, as the eyes of servants
look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maidservant
to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
till he has mercy upon us.
Are you fighting depression? Where are your eyes?
Tired of the fight? Where are your eyes?
Feel like you are behind? Where are your eyes?

You know the gospel song: Turn your eyes upon Jesus- look FULL in His wonderful face- and the things on earth will grow strangely dim- in the light of His glorious grace.


Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
for we have had more than enough of contempt. 
 Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease,
of the contempt of the proud.

The 1st stanza said- let us look to God and keep looking until He has mercy.

There is a treasure hidden in this 2nd stanza.

If I am honest, I will say that when I get knocked down on the journey it is due to evil and sin. What are my sins that plague me on this upward climb? Selfishness, laziness, anger, greed, envy, idolatry, gluttony..etc.

And I also experience the sin and evil of others: accusations, betrayal, dishonesty, selfishness, criticism, gossip, theft, violence, persecution...etc

Even if I am knocked down by is a part of the universal curse of sin.

And there is only cure- MERCY

But mercy is an intersection. If it is to flow to me, it has to flow through me. If I expect it to come to me, it has to also come from me.

Yes- I get aggravated at the God mockers in this world who make my journey difficult. But listen to Scripture:

And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. I Corinthians 6:11 

But for that very reason I (Paul) was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. I Timothy 1:16 

Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:34

The next time you get down in life and feel ready to chunk it all, try this.


Lord, I am burned out. Help me take my eyes off myself and look to you.

I am waiting for your mercy, so help me show some mercy.

And then pray for sinners and the downhearted

2) SEE

Look for those who need encouragement or help


Go and do something for someone else- not even to be noticed. Help someone out.

And I will guarantee that you will take another step with that song in your heart!

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